Doing headstands on Iraq

Buencamino does foreign and political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 25 July 2004 edition, page 11.

” Upside down, boy, you turn me, inside out, and ‘round and ‘round…” – DIANA ROSS

Blood rushes to the head when one tries to follow the American line on
Iraq, the war on terror, and President Arroyo’s decision to pull out of
Bush’s posse. High-blood pressure is not to blame because the condition
is caused by the accumulation of blood in the brain from standing on
one’s head. It is Newton’s law.

Once upon a time, George W. Bush and Tony Blair said Saddam had
chemical and biological weapons, a missile delivery system, a
reactivated nuclear weapons program and operational links to al-Qaeda.
Then one day, the world discovered that they were just shoveling
horseshit.

Despite all that, Bush and Blair insist that the unprovoked and illegal
invasion of Iraq was OK because Saddam was “evil” anyway. The problem
with their argument is it requires one to believe that there are “good”
guys and “bad” guys in the game of nations, where each player pursues
and is guided by his national interest. The truth is, there are no
“good” guys or “bad” guys in that selfish game. There are only nations
with more power than others and they decide and dictate, based on their
national interest of the moment, who is “good” and who is “evil.”

Does anyone believe that Bush or Blair will ever admit that they
knowingly shoveled horseshit so they could invade Iraq? A war of
aggression is a serious crime with serious penalties attached. Those
who engage in it are war criminals under international law. So you can
bet all your shrinking pesos that the two will never admit to it. When
their case of preemptive self-defense lost its legs, the criminal duo
decided that their only option was to stand on their heads and order
everyone else to do the same.

Here’s the first stage to a headstand: “We’re the ‘good’ guys and you
are either with us or against us. Forget the illegal nature of the
invasion, the lies, the occupation, the oil, the no-bid contracts, the
tortures, and the bloodbath.”

From the upside down position you will agree with these: “Saddam is the
personification of evil. He attacked Kuwait. He is a threat to Israel
and regional stability. He tyrannized and gassed his own people.” We
thought he had weapons of mass destruction and terrorist links so we
attacked him. We led a war to rid the world of an evil man and made the
world a safer place for democracy and freedom. We freed the Iraqis,
handpicked their new leaders and gave them sovereignty. We were asked
to stay.”

And you will conclude the following: “Those who are unhappy about our
presence in their homeland must hate democracy and freedom. Those who
don’t like our hand-picked government are either Saddam sympathizers or
radical Muslims. Iraqis who resist us and don’t agree to being killed
and bombed by us [are] terrorists. Those who use terror in the struggle
to throw us out are enemies of all civilized people. Those who
capitulate to Iraqi insurgents are endangering the rest of the
coalition and world.”

Those who want to keep their feet on the ground should not start with
“good guys-bad guys.” It is safer, and one can see through the
propaganda and horseshit better, if one starts by looking at what each
side is doing, how it is doing it, and, if it can be discerned, what is
its motive. Only after assessing the “what”, “how” and “why” can one
safely decide on the “who.”

If one begins with the “who” and works backward, then one will end up
doing a headstand. And standing on one’s head can cause arteries to
burst and blood won’t reach the brain. Now that’s just like being
decapitated.

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